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  • Writer's pictureJane Ritzenthaler

The Blue Mountains

Updated: May 29


I spent a long, but amazing day today in the Blue Mountains. Located a 2+ hour train ride west of Sydney, the town of Katoomba is the jumping off spot to tour this sandstone plateau which is about 3600 feet above sea level. What’s particularly notable is the vast bio- diversity in a relatively small area. From open scrub plains to dense eucalyptus forests to temperate rainforest…all within a few hundred feet. That formation at the top middle of the above photo is called the Three Sisters.


I bought a ticket on yet another hop on/hop off bus tour to get a feel for the area, and also entrance to Scenic World, a venue with several options to view it all. Sitting on the plateau, there are not only numerous hiking trails throughout the area, but also a railway, skyway with a glass bottom, and a cable car. I did all three.


The short ride on the railway, which at a 52 degree incline is the steepest passenger train in the world, takes you down to the valley floor and the rainforest. It was originally designed to carry coal from the mines up to the plateau, and there is a vast network of tunnels throughout the mountain. The rainforest is dark and silent - no sun penetrates to the valley floor. The photos I took there don’t reflect that, because my iPhone apparently shot them in Night mode. I wandered along the boardwalk paths for a while, then took the railway back up to the top. (Going up backwards was actually scarier!)


Finally, you may be asking why they are called the Blue Mountains. I learned that it’s because the eucalyptus trees exude a fine oil that refracts the blue wave length, so from a distance, the mountains have a blue cast.


Tomorrow I’m off to stay with my friends Rosie and Victor in Thirroul, a town on the south coast.


Click on the first photo to display them full size.


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